L-R: Alfie Rius, Sam Ansloos (MUN Vice-President), Hugo Wright, Henry Dashwood, Toby Harvey-Scholes, Alex Moore, Dan Edwards, Ben Gould (MUN President), Azimah Jaafar, Ed Elcock, Jonty Small, Guy Cabral, James Humpish, Theo Simmons and Stephen Chandler
On the first day of half term, Miss Burge and Mr Peach, 5 Azerbaijanis, 5 Israelis, 5 North Koreans, and one budding journalist, Hugo Wright, set off to Croydon for the 31st Royal Russell Model United Nations conference.
Perhaps carried by the momentum of the Tucks, or lifted by the vertiginous highs of the House Singing Competition – or was it that bacon butty at breakfast from KH? – the team got ‘stuck in’ in true Salopian style from the outset and returned 4 days later with a brace of awards.
As always, it was an intense, dramatic, emotionally-charged, fun and exhausting few days of internationalism, idealism, Machiavellianism, and intelligent debate and oratory, with the odd reference to Harry Potter or Korean YouTube hits thrown in.
What makes the Royal Russell conference stand out is the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the school’s staff and pupils, the high standard of the debates, the international feel (with schools from Ireland, the USA, Japan, Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey) and the sheer range and breadth of the other features of the weekend like the MUN Press Corps (this year with a Salopian journalist working in it), MUN-TV, the MUN chapel service, the fancy-dress discos and this year’s remarkably ambitious, big-screen, outdoor X-Factor (of which more anon).
James Humpish, the Israeli ambassador, made the first big impression. His opening address to the General Assembly, which was loosely based on Blake’s Jerusalem, was chosen as the best opening speech. And he certainly got the ball rolling for the team; on the following morning Salopians were in the thick of the debates in committees, and – as usual – showed their staying power, as the debate moved to the General Assembly on the last two days. North Korean ambassador, Daniel Edwards, stood out in GA, taking the podium more than any other Salopian, and delivering some excellent speeches. Kim Jong-Un will be delighted that – in rhetoric at least – his ambassador served him well and imperialists were well and truly smashed!
At the end of the conference, our Azerbaijan team were awarded the top prize, the Distinguished Delegation Award (alongside Haberdashers’ Askes’, Herts and Terenure College, Dublin) and I was delighted that our Israeli team picked up a Highly Commended Delegation Award, too. In addition, the following won Distinguished Delegate awards for their work in their committees: Ben Gould, Sam Ansloos, Ed Elcock, Alfie Rius, Rory Fraser, Toby Harvey-Scholes and Guy Cabral (an extraordinary achievement for a 4th Former). Following on from his success on the first day James Humpish won 2 Distinguished Delegate awards; one for his work in the Human Rights committee and one for his contribution to a special Crisis Committee, which was set up on the second day of the conference to resolve the fallout of a fictitious terrorist attack on the UN.
In addition, Shrewsbury had 3 of the 16 entries for the MUN X-Factor. Alex Moore sang and played guitar on a complex and moody Ben Howard number ‘Everything'. Sam Ansloos then delivered a soaring rendition of Tom Petty’s ‘Free Falling’. However, it was Shrewsbury’s very own waist-coated boy band, ‘Ed and the Other People’, who somehow danced and beat-boxed their way to victory with an original and hilarious, if wobbly, mash-up of Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ and ‘Gangnam Style’. Speaking to the MUN Press afterwards, Ed Elcock announced that his band were donating the £250 X-Factor prize money to the ‘Shewsy’ youth club in Everton.
Overall, it was a great experience for all, and we are very much looking forward to the Paris MUN in December.
Ben Gould –HUMAN RIGHTS 1 –Ambassador
Sam Ansloos –SECURITY COUNCIL
Henry Dashwood –ECOFIN
Alex Moore –ENVIRONMENT
Ed Elcock - POLITICAL 2
James Humpish – HUMAN RIGHTS 1 Ambassador
Rory Fraser –DISARMAMENT 1
Toby Harvey-Scholes –POLITICAL 1
Guy Cabral –DISEC 2
Theo Simmons –ENVIRONMENT
Dan Edwards DISARMAMENT 1 –Ambassador
Jonty Small – DISARMAMENT 2
Alfie Rius – POLITICAL 2
Azimah Jaafar – HUMAN RIGHTS 2
Stephen Chandler – HUMAN RIGHTS 1